Real Madrid will take on Getafe this week with an eye on closing down the gap to second-placed Atletico Madrid in the La Liga standings.

Real Madrid will take a short trip to Getafe, as they gear up for a Madrid derby on Thursday night at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez.

With just five games left in the season, Real Madrid will be aiming to pick up as many points as they can and stay in the hunt to end the campaign at least as the runners-up behind champions-elect Barcelona. Zinedine Zidane’s men currently find themselves four points below second-placed Atletico Madrid, and the gap could be widened to seven points by the time Real face Getafe, with Los Rojiblancos facing Valencia on Wednesday.

Real Madrid have not looked their best for a while now, but have managed to churn out results and head into Thursday’s game having lost just one of their last seven games (W5 D1). Their latest fixture against Athletic Bilbao ended in a resounding 3-0 win, with Karim Benzema leading the way with a brilliant hat-trick. They will want to build on that display and take home three points from the midweek clash.

Getafe, unlike Real Madrid, have had a fairytale of a season. The Madrid club came into the season with one of the lowest budgets in La Liga, but have risen against the odds, to put themselves in contention to seal qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Jose Bordalas’ men are in the fourth place currently, two points above Valencia and Sevilla, who occupy the next two places in the table. Getafe have tasted defeat in just one of their last 12 matches (W6 D5), winning their most recent fixture against Sevilla 3-0, indicating that they have what it takes to go toe to toe against the big boys in Spain.

The last time these two teams met, in August last year, Real Madrid won 2-0, with Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale finding the back of the net. And ahead of their second clash of the campaign, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both squads;

Team News & Tactics

Getafe

Key defender Djene Dakonam, who has been linked with a summer switch to Arsenal, is suspended for the tie against Real Madrid after being sent off against Sevilla at the weekend, while Vitorino Antunes and Amath Ndiaye are both ruled out with ACL injuries. Bordalas is unlikely to tweak the 4-4-2 formation that has worked so well for Getafe this season.

In goal, there is no looking past the ever-present figure of David Soria, who has started all but one La Liga game this season. The return of Damian Suarez to fitness means he should start at right-back, allowing Bruno Gonzalez to move into the heart of the backline. Leandro Cabrera will partner him in Djene’s absence, with Mathias Olivera starting at left-back, having returned from suspension.

Dimitri Foulquier has missed the last two games with an injury, but should return to the team on Thursday night, to take his place on the right-side of the midfield four. On the opposite flank, Francisco Portillo is likely to get the nod, having not featured from start against Sevilla. Summer signings Mauro Arambarri and Nemanja Maksimovic will resume their partnership in the centre of the park.

Leading goalscorer Jaime Mata will move into the two-man strikeforce, having started on the left flank last time out. He could be partnered up front by veteran Jorge Molina, who bagged a brace against Sevilla at the weekend, while Angel Rodriguez also remains an option for Bordalas and Getafe.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Soria; Suarez, Gonzalez, Cabrera, Olivera; Foulquier, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Portillo; Molina, Mata

Real Madrid

Alvaro Odriozola has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a collarbone injury, while club captain Sergio Ramos also remains unavailable for Real Madrid for the upcoming derby against Getafe. Thibaut Courtois is back in contention, having trained with the first-team, but Vinicius Junior still isn’t ready for a return yet.

Back in training (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Back in training (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Courtois’ return does create a bit of a selection problem for Zidane in the goalkeeping department, but the Frenchman is expected to stick with Keylor Navas on Thursday night. Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are likely to hold on to their spots as the full-backs, with Raphael Varane a guaranteed starter as one of the two centre-backs.

Jesus Vallejo made a solid impression in his first league start of the season against Athletic Bilbao, helping Real Madrid secure their first clean sheet in five matches. That should be enough for him to start once again ahead of utility man Nacho.

It is very unlikely that Zidane will tinker with his preferred midfield trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos for the midweek clash, although Federico Valverde could be an option, having impressed in his last appearance against Leganes.

Isco is likely to return to the starting XI, on the right flank in place of Lucas Vazquez, while Marco Asensio, who got an assist in the last game, is likely to be retained on the opposite wing. Karim Benzema is enjoying his finest campaign for Real Madrid and should continue to spearhead the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Vallejo, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Asensio

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid have won their last four La Liga games at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, as many as in their previous nine matches (W4 D1 L4).
  • Getafe have only won one of their last 17 La Liga home games against a Madrilenian opponent (D3 L13) – a 2-1 victory against Rayo Vallecano in February 2019. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are unbeaten in 11 La Liga away games against Madrilenian opposition since their defeat to Atletico Madrid in 2015 (W8 D3).
  • Real Madrid have only collected one point from their last two La Liga away games, after winning their previous five away matches.
  • Getafe’s Jorge Molina has scored five goals against Real Madrid in LaLiga, more than against any other opponent.
  • Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has been involved in at least one goal in his last six LaLiga appearances against Getafe (five goals and two assists), scoring in the last five.

Player to Watch

Karim Benzema

Real Madrid's main man (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s main man (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The French centre-forward is having his second-most prolific campaign in terms of goals scored in Real Madrid colours since the 2011-12 season, when he had netted 32 in all competitions. So far in the ongoing season, Benzema has found the back of the net on 30 occasions in 50 matches across all competitions, while also contributing with 10 assists.

Following his match-winning hat-trick against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, the 31-year-old has scored all of Real Madrid’s last eight goals in the La Liga. Benzema is now the joint second-highest goal-getter in the Spanish top-flight, tied with Luis Suarez at 21 goals, with only Lionel Messi (33) scoring more.

The Frenchman has netted 8 times in 12 matches against Getafe in all competitions and will once again be the key for Zinedine Zidane’s men, if they are to come away with all the three points on Thursday.

Prediction

Getafe 1-2 Real Madrid

Getafe have been the success story of La Liga this season. Sitting on the cusp of qualification for Europe next season, the Azulones will be keen on avoiding any slip-ups and strengthen their hold on the fourth spot in the table. They have won their last two home matches against Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao no less, keeping clean sheets in both the game, which bodes well for them.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, will be keen on ending what has been quite a forgettable season on a strong note. With there still being a chance of them pipping neighbours Atletico to the second spot, Zidane’s side will not want to take their eye off the ball, but the fact that they have managed just one point from their last two away matches will be a source of concern.

Getafe have one of the tightest defences in the league – they have let in just 29 goals this term, only Barcelona (21) and Valencia (28) have conceded fewer. But given the form Karim Benzema that has been in recent weeks, we at The Hard Tackle expect the Frenchman to inspire Real Madrid to an important win on Thursday night.

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